Dear Chump Lady,
Almost a decade ago, I lived with a man with NPD. I was fortunate: his sparkles ran out before he could cheat or pressure me into marriage and children. I dumped him within the year. His abusiveness and mindfuckery did mess with me for a long time after, and he left me super-sensitive to red-flag behavior.
A friend of mine is in danger of being made a chump by a NPD, and it will be for the third time in the four years I’ve known her. I offered support after the first two breakups. Now, she’s in a relationship with so many red flags that my head is spinning.
Her current man is worse than the first two. He’s bad news–the kind of guy who expects his girlfriend to carry his weight, who drinks too much, who sparkles to others, who dates his students, and who is very likely to cheat, or may in fact already be doing so with his ex-wife (is she REALLY his ex?). He’s sabotaging my friend’s work in her grad program, and she can’t afford that. He’s demanding she put more money into their household expenses, even though he makes seven times more than she does, and he complains about how much housework she does. She’s buying him expensive electronics that she doesn’t even own for herself and cannot afford (though–as far as I know, not at his *direct* request). He makes her go out regularly with him and his ex-wife, even though they have no kids to tie them together.
I did my best. I gave her blunt feedback about the red-flags I saw. I pointed out problems, drew parallels to my story, which she knew, and even flat out told her that some of the things she reported were inappropriate and abusive. The only thing I didn’t do is tell her she should move out right away (I wanted to, but I can’t make that decision for her, and she’s a vulnerable foreign student).
I convinced my friend to read Lundy Bancroft’s Why Does He Do That? (the best book on abusive types that I know). She read it, and came back relieved to discover that her partner is “not at all abusive” but only “very controlling.”
Only very controlling.
I am so upset by her take-away from that book. I thought it would make her situation crystal-clear, even if I hadn’t managed to. I don’t know how much more I can do, because now she wants us all (her and the boyfriend, me and hubby) to be friends. I don’t want to be in the same room as this man, nor does hubby. I don’t want my friend to be hurt more, or pressured into marriage or pregnancy by her boyfriend or her colluding mother. I don’t want to watch this guy sparkle at me while my friend is wilting.
I don’t know what to do. I have no proof that he’s what I think he is–beyond what she has told me (I do, however, trust that he sucks). What’s worse, I don’t even know if I can provide the kind of support she needs. I carry my own wounds, and after seeing her in the midst of a third NPD relationship, I’m finding it hurts too much–because it reawakens my own pain–to support her the way she needs.
My friend is kind, good, loving, and generous. I don’t want this to be her fate, and I don’t want to step back from our friendship just because being her confidante through multiple bad relationships is too painful. She’s almost alone in this country–I don’t think she has another intimate female friend.
It makes me want to cry. I already watched long distance while my ex ruined another woman’s life. I don’t want to watch my friend’s life be ruined by a monster of the same stripe.
Is there anything else the friend of a chump can do? And how can I protect myself while being there for her? Do I subject myself and hubby to the NPD because not to do so would put distance between my friend and me? Or am I–by trying to swoop in and help–only hurting myself, because she’s going to spackle no matter what I say?
Almost-Chump to the Rescue
Dear Almost Chump to the Rescue,
You are a very compassionate friend. I, on the other hand, am a crabby, middle-aged blogger who would like to slap your chumpy pal into next week for subjecting herself — and you — to three NPDs in four years. That’s three NPDs too many. The point of having one of these freaks cross your path (if there is a point… I’ve discussed it with God and I’m often unclear on the evolutionary purpose of NPDs, unlike say… tree sloths…) — is to learn from disaster. Figure out their game, and hereafter AVOID such people.
Sounds like you did that, as you dumped your NPD and are now sound happily married. Your friend, however, is a slow learner. That’s on her.
For whatever reasons, your friend feels it is her job to be good kibbles. She accepts lopsidedness as normal. And she wants to “win” this doofus — buying him electronic gadgets and playing third wheel to the ex-wife. (Hello “pick me” dance.)
Your friend feels compelled to repeat abusive relationship after abusive relationship. I would say there’s some good news, in that she ended it with two NPDs, so you must hope she can end it with the third. But perhaps they ended it with her. In any case, she’s attracted to jerks. You have to put some of the responsibility for that on her — He makes her go out regularly with him and his ex-wife — no, she chooses to go out with him and his ex-wife. Unless he holds a gun to her head, she’s volunteering for this shit.
It’s totally maddening. You’ve tried giving her insight — that’s great that she read the Lundy book. (For sale, chumps, up there in the Amazon box to the right.) But as the saying goes — you can explain it to her, but you can’t understand it for her. She has to connect those dots on her own.
Pain is a good teacher. That’s how most of us learn eventually. Hand on stove = pain. Stepping on Lego = pain. Relationship with NPD = pain. To connect those dots and conclude “pain” you have to identify the danger. Stoves are hot and need to be handled with care. Legos do not belong on the floor. People who want you to pay seven times your share, and drink too much, are bad boyfriends.
My guess is that she fears the pain of being alone, over the pain of the boyfriend. She’s isolated. A foreign student in strange land. And as you point out, she doesn’t have any other friends than you. Why people aren’t signing up for the joy of nursing her through multiple break ups, I can’t imagine…
Anyway, my point is — she needs to face that fear and wrestle that bitch to the ground. Dump the loser, make other friends, learn to focus on her own success and quit throwing all her energy at this creep.
Oh hey, I just told you something you already know! You want me to tell you how you can make that happen for her.
You only control you. Sucks, doesn’t it? The only leverage you have in this situation is your relationship with her, and there you can apply sanctions. If you’re chumpy, or almost chumpy, this feels really outside your comfort zone. I get it. Wouldn’t it be better if you could just shake some sense into her and save her? Yeah, well, you tried that. Time for stiffer measures — creating boundaries that save your OWN sanity. (Note, most friends don’t compel us pen letters to infidelity bloggers.)
I’d suggest the following conversation — “Dear Jerk Lover, you’re a kind, loving person and it upsets me to see you get involved with your third jerk in four years. I’m seeing a pattern here. These guys really don’t seem to be bringing out your best self. You deserve better and you can DO better. I think you need professional help to deal with your attraction to abusive relationships. I love you as a friend, but I can’t be your therapist. Why you make these hurtful choices is beyond me. You need to go explore that with a licensed professional.”
Next, you decide how much — if any — contact you want with this friend. You might start with the boundary of just seeing your friend sans boyfriend. Insist on girl only outings. And then keep the conversation on things of mutual interest (not her crazy love life). Perhaps invite a few other friends and widen the circle a bit. Get her engaged in the outside world. NPDs have a way of isolating chumps.
If she keeps pushing that boundary — she wants you to be her therapist, she insists on including him in your get togethers — then you tell her sadly “Jerk Lover, I need to take a break from this relationship. It’s too upsetting to me to see you involved with an NPD, and it stirs up crap from my past.” This is the ultimate sanction — no contact.
Realize that every time you draw a boundary — you have to let go of the outcome. She might get really angry with you for saying her boyfriend is a disordered freak. The familiar “kill the messenger” response. She might keep pushing your boundaries — bringing him up, bringing him around — in which case, stay strong. When you know where she ends and you begin, this will get easier. She’s not your problem. She’s your friend. You can detach with love and let Professor Pain take it from there.
Pain always teaches. I hope your friend absorbs the lesson this time. You’ve done all you can, but some people just don’t want to be saved.
Yep, you can’t fix somebody else. That’s their job. If they’re up to it, you can offer moral support, but if you’re trying to fix them, then you still have some problems with healthy boundaries you need to deal with yourself.
You’ve said your piece, so it’s time to start dealing with your own boundaries, IMO.
Otherwise…, you’re kind of doing something similiar to what your friend is doing, only it’s not in a romantic relationship.
It’s OK to have compassion. It’s OK to help somebody if they are trying to help themselves. If you find yourself trying to make them make the choices you think they should make, though, it’s time to examine why you are doing that.
Best of luck.
Thank you. You have made a good point (as has Chump Lady, by rightly underlining how this is my friend’s responsibility and I can’t *make* her help herself). It is her job to fix the problem, and I was as direct as possible–I thought shockingly direct, friendship-ending direct.
I never expected that she’d listen to me say what I said, spackle her boyfriend AND then go on like everything had been set right. Certainly I will never be “right” about her NPD guy again.
As I tried to say in the email I sent, I didn’t dictate what choice she should make (even when she asked if she should leave!) because it’s her responsibility. It’s just so hard to watch someone suffer, and I genuinely think she was/is suffering.
Your friend has an upside-down view of priorities. Graduate program first, then find a love interest way down the scale, probably below getting a job in her field, and setting up a household. I’m guilty of this confusion too, when I was young and green, but if we would just pay attention to priorities, and get our lives on track first, guess what? Then, you can attract higher-quality partners! I agree she’s so afraid of being alone, and in a stange country, that she settled for (and moved in with!) the suave NPD guy just because he paid attention to her. Lots of times being alone is soooo much better. And alone, with one supportive girlfriend, sounds like a great start to a great life to me!
I agree with you! Unfortunately, our grad program is just about as poisonous and abusive as any boyfriend she could have (which is why I left last year after our mentor passed away unexpectedly–he was the only good one in the bunch). She’s really trapped, though, because if she leaves the program, she’s out of the country–and if she leaves the boyfriend, she’s homeless.
ACTTR – have you considered that your friend might be BPD?
BPD/NPD often find each other on a regular basis – the fact she’s going out and repeating the pattern again and again makes this a good possibility in my mind. Plus BPD thrive on the push-me pull-you dance, and drama. Lots and LOTS of drama.
I had a good female friend for many years who followed this pattern – I didn’t see her very often which probably explained why we stayed friends for so long. Circumstance meant that after about 12 years I moved close to her and started seeing things up close and personal. Of course it was only a matter of time before she turned on me, as she ultimately would anyway. This could also explain why your friend doesn’t have other friends… has your friend burned any bridges in this regard?
Oftentimes I’ve found that people in bad situations actually like staying in bad situations and playing the victim – and as CL said, in that case the only response is NC.
Wow! Great call.
See “affair fog” feature…..
read about my friend… sometimes you can’t help them b/c they don’t want to change.
Good thought. Yes, very possibly she at has some BPD traits at the very least. They’re usually self-injurious and attention-seeking. (I guess most of us are already familiar with all of the wingnut issues) I used to read this blog (thankfully she stopped blogging) of this very talented young singer/dancer/actress in England. She would get the lead in a show… the lead, mind you… and she would write that she wasn’t going to be alive to DO the show! wtf??? and then, she would have the crisis team over, like every other day… because she was ready to end it all… and she would take 8 tylenol or some stupid shit like that. People would comment and feel all sorry for her. WTF??? Attention seeking and enabling. Very sweet, pretty, talented, eating disordered, and just plain nuts. I’m sure that there are tons of people around us every day and we are none the wiser. (until we read their blogs!)
OMG – insanity!
Yes that’s true – my Facebook account is a too scarey insight into some friends minds…. lol
That is a good suggestion, Fallulah. I hadn’t considered that she might be BPD. My experience with a BPD person was that she behaved quite differently than my current girlfriend. That woman was always at the center of a storm that involved a LOT of people and spent a lot of time carefully manipulating those around her, spreading lies and gossip. That is not how my current friend behaves. Indeed, when I was suffering, she was the only person to stick by me.
However, since she’s from a very different culture, I might not recognize how certain personality disorders express themselves. Her culture/FOO is, unfortunately, anti-therapy and anti-medication.
I don’t get the sense that she’s enjoying the drama. I get the sense that she’s terrified and alone. If “venting about my boyfriend(s)” had always been the core of our friendship, it wouldn’t have lasted very long. She kept all their problems securely under wraps–not even speaking of a problem–until things started to fall apart (after two years together with her last boyfriend, a year with this one).
I suppose that there is the slight possibility that she’s making up things/exaggerating and is manipulating me . . . but I don’t think that is likely. I saw the red flags before I even met this bf.
As for not having other friends . . . that’s an effect of our toxic grad program, largely. Her first NPD boyfriend dumped her just before finals in her first semester in the country, meaning she wasn’t able to complete her papers on time. She had to take incomplete, got some low grades, and has been the department whipping-girl ever since. The un-favorite, except with our mentor who passed.
Something like that means that the other students in the department refuse to have much to do with her–fear of being tainted by association (same thing happened to me when I took personal leave–many of the students pretend not to see me when I come around). I’ve read her scholarship. It’s quite good–her status in the department is not deserved. So, neediness may be a part of her isolation, but another part is that she’s surrounded by awful people–and it isn’t entirely her choice to be.
(I’d like to note that my diagnosis of her position in the department comes from me/my observations, not from her. IE, she is only half-aware of the attitude of the faculty and students towards her. I, not being her, hear things that she doesn’t.)
Please ask to go out with her without the jerk on a regular basis. Do be her friend, by the time I got away from my ex I had only two friends left. Abusers isolate, mine did it by telling me how bad other people were for me. There were always reasons, when first in love you tend not to go out without your SO, makes it easy for them to get you away from friends.
Thank you. I will try to find a way to do this. My mother suggests setting up activities (going to movies, theatre, concerts) that don’t allow a lot of conversation but allow me to “be there,” if I want to maintain this friendship.
I know that abusers isolate–that’s part of why I am in a quandary. My NPD ex was an isolator. I was lucky to get out, lucky to have the support of family and friends that allowed me to do so.
Great advice Tracy! Have you ever considered being a life coach? You’re a natural.
I think these types of guys are like a drug to some women and they become chemically attached. Its such a deep-seated attachment on many levels and that’s why its so difficult for her to SEE what’s as plain as day. It explains the lopsidedness of her “giving.” She’s damned afraid of losing her fix. Without it, she feels more than lonely. She actually feels like she’s nothing. I know… I was that woman too. (and I hope to God that it IS a “was”) Ironically, not with wasband, but in the past. I think its one reason that I’m afraid of another relationship where there’s a strong attraction. I know the feeling of losing myself and it sucks more than I can possibly say. My husband was so balanced and healthy, by comparison. He was for a long time, until he wasn’t. Still… leaving was so difficult. Its so much easier to stay because the devil we know is sometimes easier to accept than the great abyss of the unknown.
I never thought of that possibility. Maybe you’re right. She seems so ready to think others are better than her–and she always brings gifts. I just am ill that she’s spent over $2000 on this professor when we’re in a major city and her stipend is $18,000 pre-tax.
When I read this, the very first thing that popped into my head was the wonderful 80s song by the Eurythmics, “Sweet Dreams.”
Sweet dreams are made of this
Who am I to disagree?
I traveled the world and the seven seas
Everybody’s looking for something
Some of them want to use you
Some of them want to get used by you
Some of them want to abuse you
Some of them want to be abused
Some people, like your friend most likely, want to be abused. Usually for FOO reasons of their own, or because they themselves have personality disorders (usually borderline) or because they hate their own company so much, even being with an abuser is better than being alone.
It sounds like you’ve done all you can for your friend. Now it’s up to her.
That’s so funny. I’ve noticed in the past few years that every now and then a totally “random” song will pop into my head… when I reflect on the lyrics, they are describing my feeling at that time, on a topic or a person – I’ve had so many insightful a-ha moments that way…. I am grateful to my subconscious 🙂
Love that I’m not the only one lol 🙂
Your friend guilts you into her dysfunction. She doesn’t want real advice or to change her man picker radar. Friends like this are beyond frustrating and are broken records that keep spinning the same old tune.
Whether consciously or unconsciously your friend has given you a role in her dysfunction and so far you’d accepted being her shoulder to cry on and that’s all she wants from you.
Now you’re stuck. If you abandon her who will protect her from herself ?
This is not a true friendship in the sense that you cannot be upfront and honest with her and it seems one sided.
You’ve done your best to help her out and that’s a good thing. Now it’s time for you to politely remove yourself from this friendship.
Her situation is toxic to your own well being and you have nothing to feel guilty about if you can no longer be involved her drama.
Thank you. That’s quite blunt, and I need to hear it. It’s hard to give up on this friendship, since she was there when I needed support and she keeps the relationship stuff so firmly under wraps until things fall apart. It’s been a small part of our conversation–but it’s nevertheless an unhealthy dynamic.
I’m watching myself trying to untangle the skein of fuckupedness (is that the phrase?) and I’m not even her–or in her relationship. I’ve got a good relationship of my own and shouldn’t have to take on this burden. (Which, I realize, I don’t *have* to. I could choose to step back.)
Everyone’s right. Being her shoulder to cry on will eventually drain you, if you let it go on long enough. You do need to cut ties everyntually. No need for a formal letter, though, IMHO.
A few thoughts –
– If you hang out with your friend and her bf, does he say rude things to her, in front of you? If so, think about calling him on his shit, right then and there. It might help wake her up to his innappropriate behavior. Maybe not…..but maybe. This happened a few times with me and my husband, where my friends called him out on rude comments, and even though it took awhile to sink it, in the end I was able to look back and remember how my friend stood up for me and called to light his rudeness. Helped me leave him, in the end. Just sayin.
– Have you told her flat-out that he is a jerk? And that you don’t want to hang out with him?
– Don’t feel too bad about “abandoning” your friend. When I was in my NPD relationship, I lost a lot of friends. I understand why. I don’t fault any of my friends for slipping away during this time. Not one bit. I get why they didn’t want to be a part of it, long-term. Seriously, if/when she gets out of this mess, she will probably understand why you weren’t on board for the fuckedupness.
Thanks for the reply. Here’s some feedback . . .
I’ve only met the bf one time and have intentionally kept my distance, because he stunk before I even met him. He wasn’t too sparkly around me and hubby–just a pleasant guest for dinner–and did not say anything inappropriate. I think we’d have to see him *much* more regularly before he let his mask slip, and I don’t want to let him closer to me and hubby. So . . . it’s highly unlikely I will ever directly witness him being a jerk to her.
I did tell her flat out that his drinking was too much (6 pack every night), that suggesting she move out when he was angry over housework was inappropriate, that his financial demands were outrageous, that what he was saying to her was stupid/not right, etc. I did pretty much say he was a jerk and behaving like an arse. Generally, though I thought I spoke in a caring and diplomatic manner, I would have thought that if she decided he was OK, our friendship would be over because of what I said.
I have not yet said I don’t want to hang out with him, I don’t think. She hasn’t pressed for us to get together. If she does, I will refuse to do couple-y things. I’ve been thinking about it, and I think it would be soul-killing to try to “make nice,” especially with my background.
I don’t want to abandon my friend, but I also don’t want to be her crutch. It’s not at all comfortable.
Agreed with a lot of the advice you have received, and CL dishes it to you straight.
You control only you — This is a very tough pill to swallow for people with a lot of empathy. You want to be able to help your friend, but your friend really isn’t able/doesn’t want your help. You can’t make your friend wake up and smell the coffee. You cannot connect the dots for your friend.
Detach with compassion<–I don't know if your friend has BPD or issues or what, but it sounds as if a lot of your relationship with your friend is based on her relationships with her bad boyfriends. Now, it is true that abusive relationships involve isolation. Your friend may not have friends because she's abused, but doesn't recognize psychological abuse when she experiences it. However, she suspects abuse, given that she's "relieved" to know that her current BF is "only" controlling.
The point is that she's pulling you into her world of fuckedupness. I have been there. Once. It is very destructive, and after my little stint with my crazy housemate, I would add it to abusive behavior. You need to draw very clear boundaries. Yes, go out with her (but as girls night out). Yes, talk with her (but limit how much conversation is about her weird BF). You get the picture. Don't let the relationship be about only her and her relationship drama.
Tell her truth as you see it. Then lay off.— The next time she complains about her bad BF, tell her that you see this as a very unhealthy relationship. Tell her that, given all she complains about his behavior, she needs to ask herself what the late Ann Landers told people to ask themselves: “are you better off with them or without them?” If she decides that the current dysfunctional BF is what she wants, then back off. This is one place where you draw a boundary.
Establish boundaries–Remember your friend is trying to pull you into the skein of fuckedupness. This is manipulative. It may not be intentionally manipulative on her part, but it is manipulative. You need to establish the boundaries in your friendship. This means learning that you do not have to feel guilt because you aren’t available for your friend to lean on 24/7. Again, you control only you; you cannot control your friend. After you make it clear to her where you stand with respect to this current BF–and possibly her need to get therapy for her picker–you’ve done what you can for her life. If she’s willing to hang out with you once you’re no longer in the therapist role, then you can be there for her when she finally decides to leave the current jerk.
Find emotionally healthy friends–Look around at your circle of friends. If this friend monopolizes your time, then you need to branch out. Strangely enough, people who are in a fucked up world will feel better when they drag people into their fucked-up version of reality. To stay mentally healthy, you need to have friends who aren’t experiencing crises in their relationships. Do more stuff with them than you do with your needy friend. Again, this helps you establish a boundary.
Best of luck to you!
And clearly I fail at closing my tags! Tracy, feel free to edit my post to remove the full paragraphs of bolding! 🙂
how do you do that? it’s cool! 🙂
I’m going to guess with “” then something “” . Testing
crap, it parses and (with no spaces though) even in quotes. Wonder if it does it with spaces>
I don’t know how to post how to do it. Greater than sign, b, less than sign. your text. Greater than sign, slash, b, less than sign.
Wonder if embed code works?
Images work! Yippe!
LOL – woohoooo – LOVE tigger 🙂 🙂
Done… I wish WP had an edit comment feature. Glad you guys know some HTML!
Thank you. These are all great tips.
yay! this rocks
Maybe it’s a little cheesy and maybe most of you, being American probably know this Mary Oliver poem by heart. I only discovered it a while back and was blown away by it.
It is about that very thing of saving yourself. I think it’s just brilliant.
A couple things I wanted to say quickly before I finish reading through all the comments (Thank you, everyone!):
–This friend has not been unloading on me regularly. This was the first time we’d gotten together in months and months–and everything just sort of spilled out of her. I was blindsided by it all–and was and am still reeling. I’d been keeping my distance, both because I didn’t feel good about her bf and because we both were in the same PhD program (see next point).
— Our friendship was based on having been in the same grad program. Then, our wonderful, fatherly mentor suddenly died and the department went toxic. I left–not willing to put up with that poison–and she stayed. Her prior relationships really didn’t play a significant role in our friendship until the most recent one ended (there was plenty of shoulder-crying then). Talking about grad school is already off the table (too painful a memory), so if I put talking about her toxic bf off-limits, too, it’s going to be hard to have a topic of conversation!
— Toxic bf is a professor at our grad school, but not in our department–though she was his student for one course. That means they are on the down-low (very isolating!).
— Both her previous NPD boyfriends broke up with HER, not the other way around.
— I’ve known people from my home country who are BPD, and my friend does not *seem* to fit the profile. However, as she’s from an Asian culture, it is possible that I might not recognize how the disorder expresses itself there.
— She’s under a lot of pressure from the outside to be in a relationship. Her stipend is not enough to live on alone, and if she’s single her mama and mama’s friends are constantly trying to arrange a marriage for her. I am sure these are factors into her incredible spackling and clinging to whatever man she’s got.
Ah, I understand some of the cultural pressures. Some of the first-year Asian males in one of my classes never wanted to go home over the summer break because their mothers were always pressuring them to get married, and matchmaking is alive and well. Given this context, it may be that she feels trapped herself.
I would still advise her to go into counseling. The fact is that she doesn’t have to be trapped by these kinds of guys, and she may have recourse here that she may not have in her home country. A good therapist would be able to help with the picker issue, especially since she may not be reading the cultural codes well. This is especially important if she’s considering more time in this country than finishing her graduate work.
Again, you can’t make her do any of this, but you might stress that it is not only culturally acceptable to do so, but in a lot of ways is culturally necessary! Also, stress that the way her BF is treating her is culturally unacceptable!
This explains a lot about why she wants to convince herself he is okay.
Sad thing though – in the long run relationship with her professor is likely to hurt her career. (He will probably get away with it to some extent.) So she is in a no -win situation.
Chump Son here.
I have a comparison for you.
My own narc father used to have a device he used to get to me. For years, in my adulthood, he would complain to me about my mother, saying that she was “crazy.” I told him not to do this. But he would go back to this. Over and over again. It always made me squirm/bothered me/got to me. I have described this in greater detail in other posts.
The interesting thing is my mother’s role in this. One some occasions, when I complained to her about this behavior, she would actually defend my father, would tell me not to be bothered by it, would even criticize herself!
It took me along time to realize that her behavior only made things worse for me. In the end, I found closure with my father, but my mother’s behavior — her willingness to not defend herself — was actually not good. In a weird way, she was not really being a chump-victim at all, but rather was a willing, cooperating co-conspirator in my father’s behavior. Think of it this way. What if I became a boxer, a bad boxer, and insisted that my mother come to all my fights and watch me get beat up?
I think your friend is a kind of pseudo-chump, co-narcissist. She gets something from the relationship. You may actually have to go no contact. That might shake her up. Or it might have no effect. But you are getting over-involved in trying to save her. You can only help yourself.
In my case, my father’s complaining eventually got to me, not so much because I wanted to defend my mother, but simply because it showed such disrespect to me. After twenty-five years (yes, sorry to admit that), I did end it. I told him that I’d never want my daughter to marry a man like him. Told him flat. No yelling. No emotion. That ended that. Again, this is described elsewhere.
My point, Almost, is that I really don’t see your friend as a victim whom you can help. This is repeated behavior. And she is dumping a lot of stress on you. You’ve done your part. Been a good friend. But she is not a good friend to you. She’s sucking you into her drama, and you have your own life to live. So, detach. When I finally detached enough, I found the right words to get me to closure to to a level of Meh. Not perfect Meh, but a much higher degree of Meh.
I always find it fascinating that my own experiences as Chump Son parallel those of betrayed spouses. The dynamics are very similar. I also think that Chumps who stay “for the kids” had better think about the radioactivity they are exposing kids to when they model a dysfunctional relationship.
Well, that’s my two cents. You did your part. Don’t subject yourself to abuse.
I appreciate this. I guess I have trouble imagining anyone *wanting* to be in a relationship like that . . . I understand being fooled and blindsided by a NPD, but I don’t understand this other dynamic.
I guess I need to be careful that this “Almost-Chump” (me) doesn’t become a different kind of Chump. It isn’t my job to untangle this skein for her, nor for me to figure out what she’s thinking that she’s getting herself into these relationships over and over again.
It makes me sad.